This short video includes aerial views of Delos island, film of the excursion boats that ferry visitors between Mykonos and Delos and, at the 1:39 mark of the clip, a schedule of boat trips and prices for tickets and guided tours in 2017
Time changes: If you’re visiting Mykonos this summer and hope to take a daytrip to explore the historic ruins and museum at nearby Delos island, take note there has been a slight change to the time excursion boats will return from Delos in the evening during 2017. The last boat back to Mykonos will now depart Delos at 7:30 p.m., a half hour earlier than last year.
That’s the only significant change (so far, at least) to the information provided in my Visiting Delos in 2016 blog post. Prices for the boat rides remain at €20 per adult and €10 for children aged 6 to 12. Kids under 6 can still ride for free.
Guided half-day tours still cost €50 per adult and €25 per child between 6 and 12 years of age. There is no charge for kids under 6 to join the guided tours, which are available from May 2 until the end of October.
The ferry ticket and tour prices do not include the government-imposed fee for admission to the Delos archaeological site, which is €12 per person again this year, and which is payable at the entrance gate on the island.
Enjoy aerial views of some of the wonderful coastal, mountain, valley and village scenery on Skyros in this 5-minute film by TreeZone
Real deal: Want to visit an authentic Greek island that isn’t a mainstream tourist magnet like Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, or even its nearby neighbour, Skiathos? Then have a look at Skyros, the southernmost and largest island in the Sporades archipelago. Skyros has everything you would want and expect from a great Greek island holiday destination — impressive landscapes and coastal scenery, inviting beaches, picturesque villages, historic sites, good food, and age-old local traditions — without the massive crowds and commerciality of other islands that have become household names around the world.
Though it is becoming increasingly popular with visitors from around the world, and has an international airport that receives direct charter flights from several European cities during July and August, Skyros is a relatively low-profile destination that isn’t even on the radar for most tourists planning vacations in the Greek islands.
In fact, there were only 3 question-and-answer threads posted on TripAdvisor’s Skyros travel forum in all of 2015, and just 10 in total since 2010. The Skiathos forum, by comparison, had more than 6,100 conversation threads as of mid-May 2016.
With so much going for the island, It’s rather surprising that Skyros doesn’t get more attention from travellers — especially considering that it gets good press whenever it’s mentioned in social and regular media.
Perhaps it’s a good thing Skyros hasn’t become hugely popular — that means it will remain a unique and special place to charm and delight those travellers who do venture off the main tourist paths to pay it a visit. (And that’s one of the chief reasons why Skyros is on my bucket list of islands to see.)
Built on the steep slopes of a craggy peak topped by a Byzantine fortress and a monastery, Chora village is a striking sight on Skyros (Photo from the Municipality of Skyros travel guide)
Please continue reading on page 2, where you’ll find more pictures and videos along with links to more than a dozen different websites with Skyros travel information and photos.
Easy excursion: People planning trips to Mykonos frequently ask me if it’s possible to visit other islands for either all or part of a day. It certainly is!
Each year, in fact, tens of thousands of people make the short half-day trip from Mykonos to Delos, an uninhabited isle which is one of the most significant historic and archaeological sites in all of Greece. (See my recent post Visiting Delos in 2016 for information about the many different ways to get there.)
The next easiest getaway for a day is to Tinos, which can be reached either by regular ferry service from Mykonos, or on tours organized by excursion companies. Unlike hip Mykonos, which is one of the most contemporary and “touristy” destinations in Greece, Tinos offers a more authentic Greek island atmosphere and visitor experience.
Tripotamos, one of 40 traditional villages on Tinos, is seen in a Tom DeBelfore photo from the Tinos, Kykladen/ Τήνος, Κυκλάδες page on Facebook. There’s nothing even remotely comparable to these villages on Mykonos.
Mykonos is popular primarily for its beaches, its sophisticated hotels, bars, restaurants and nightlife, its picturesque Mykonos Town commercial center, and its legendary status as one of the leading holiday and party destinations for the international “jet set” since the 1960s.
Tinos has excellent beaches, bars and restaurants, too, but it also boasts sights and features you won’t find anywhere on Mykonos, including fabulous mountain scenery, dozens of traditional villages and settlements, thousands of dovecotes, and the Church of Panagia Evaggelistria, the country’s most-visited Greek Orthodox pilgrimage shrine. An important center for religion with a long history of marble carving and stone artwork, Tinos gives visitors the opportunity to see a traditional side of Greece that’s almost impossible to find amidst the glitz and glamour of the designer boutiques, trendy nightclubs and posh resorts that abound on Mykonos.
The Church of Panagia Evaggelistria (Our Lady of Tinos) is visited each year by thousands of tourists and Greek Orthodox pilgrims. This photo of the church appeared on the Facebook page for the local TINOS About magazine.
Because of their sharply contrasting attributes and attractions, the two islands might seem worlds apart. But since they’re separated by just a short ferry ride across a narrow channel, a daytrip to Tinos would nicely complement a longer stay on Mykonos (or vice versa).
So how can you get to Tinos? If you’re not comfortable arranging your own itinerary, drop into travel agencies or ferry ticket offices in Mykonos Town to inquire about times and prices for guided tours that might be available during your holiday. When you purchase tickets, make certain to ask where you catch your ferry — Mykonos has two ports! (The Old Port is right at Mykonos Town, while the New Port is located over 2 kilometers from town at Tourlos.)
If you would prefer to see Tinos independently, check with the Mykonos ferry ticket agencies for boat schedules on the particular day you’d like to do your daytrip. For years, the Theologos P car and passenger ferry has offered the most reliable and convenient round-trip ferry service between the two islands, with breakfast-time departures and mid-evening returns. Theologos P typically departs the Mykonos New Port around 7:35 a.m., arriving at Tinos Town 30 minutes later. You’ll be able to enjoy a full day of sightseeing and even dinner at a local taverna before sailing back to Mykonos on Theologos P’s 9:35 p.m. return voyage to Mykonos (it reaches the Mykonos New Port shortly past 10 p.m.).
Several other ferries operate between Mykonos and Tinos, but their later departures and earlier returns allow only a few hours on Tinos. That’s still enough time to take a walk around Tinos Town and visit the island’s world-famous Our Lady of Tinos Church. But after getting to see Tinos for just three hours on our last vacation (see my previous post Our brief intro to Tinos for photos), we strongly recommend arranging as much time on the island as possible.
Friends who have done numerous daytrips say that by catching the Theologos P in the morning, they can take a taxi or bus to one of the mountain villages above Tinos Town, hike back down and spend a few hours sightseeing and having dinner in town. The return trip of Theologos P gets them back to Mykonos while the night is still young. Another possibility, they say, is to rent a car at Tinos Town and spend the day driving around to see some of the 40 villages, thousands of dovecotes and hundreds of chapels scattered across the island’s hills and mountainsides.
Thousands of impressive dovecotes can be spotted all over Tinos. This particular dovecote was renovated and converted into a private residence. (Photo from the tinos-tinos.com travel information website.)
If you want to get an idea of what Tinos is like (and also Mykonos, if you haven’t been there yet, either), watch the Hyperlapsing Tinos and Mykonos video that I posted at the top of this article. The 6.5-minute film will give you a speedy tour through the lanes and alleys of Tinos Town and Mykonos Town, and will take you to other parts of each island as well. It even shows some of the coastal scenery you’ll see on both islands during the ferry ride.
You can see more of Tinos in the video Tinos Greece 2015, below. It’s actually a slideshow presentation of photographs that YouTube contributor Lusko18 shot at numerous different locations on the island last year.
This is a 5-minute slideshow of photographs shot by Lusko18 during a trip to Tinos in 2015
Delos daytripping: It has been nearly two years since I last wrote about Delos island, and because there have been some noteworthy price changes for 2016, I’ve written this general information article to update my series of Top Delos Posts published from 2012 to 2014. (Apart from ferry schedules and the new prices for ferry tickets and admission to the Delos archaeological site, the information in my previous posts remains current.)
What is Delos?
Here’s a brief background for readers who might not be familiar with Delos. The island, situated just over 2 km west of Mykonos, is one of the most important historic and archaeological sites in Greece. It’s often called “the sacred island” and “the island of light” because, in Greek mythology, it was the birthplace of Apollo, the god of light, and Artemis, the goddess of night light.
During its glory days between 166 BC and 69 BC, Delos was a wealthy shipping hub and one of the world’s leading centers of commerce. Home to more than 30,000 people, the city went into decline after it was looted and razed in two separate attacks; residents gradually left the island, and eventually Delos was abandoned completely and almost forgotten.
The ruins of the Quarter of the Theater and the island’s once-great commercial port sprawl across the lower slopes of Mt Kynthos on Delos
Delos regained international attention when archaeologists began excavating its ruins in 1872. Small numbers of travellers, mainly from Europe, started visiting the island to view the fascinating historic sites that were gradually being unearthed. Over the decades, the trickle of tourists turned into a steady stream of sightseers from around the world, and today Delos is a top tourist attraction drawing more than 100,000 visitors each year. Delos is widely considered a “must see” attraction for people visiting Mykonos, and I personally recommend that visitors schedule a half-day trip to Delos during their Mykonos holidays, especially if it’s their first visit to Greece.
And according to the Delos page on Visit Greece, the official tourism website for Greece, “nowhere else in the Globe is there a natural insular archaeological site of this size and importance. No other island on Earth hosts so many monumental antiquities from the Archaic, the Classical, and the Hellenistic periods, i.e. the centuries of the great Greek art, on a territory used exclusively as an archaeological site.”
What’s on Delos?
The Terrace of the Lions is one of the most popular attractions on Delos island (Photo by Wikimedia contributor Bernard Gagnon)
All of Delos is a protected archaeological site, and visitors are not permitted to stay on the island overnight; hence, there are no accommodations (the nearest available lodging is on Mykonos). Besides the extensive ruins, which extend across most of the island, there is a museum that houses sculptures, wall paintings, pottery and thousands of small artefacts discovered during the excavations. A cafe in a separate building sells beverages and light snacks.
Some of the antiquities and sights most popular with tourists include: spectacular floor mosaics in the House of Dionysos, the House of the Dolphins, the House of the Mask, and the House of the Tritons; a marble amphitheater; several different agoras, sanctuaries and temples; the Sacred Lake and the Terrace of the Lions.
A detail of one of the colourful mosaics in the House of the Dolphins (Photo from the Delos Tours website.)
The marble theater, seen in another image by Wikimedia contributor Bernard Gagnon, could seat up to 5,500 spectators
You’ll see many of the island’s top sights while a narrator describes the history of Delos in this informative 9.5-minute film by Expoza Travel.
Please click on the link below to continue reading on page 2, where you’ll find information about Delos ferry ticket and site admission prices, ferry schedules, guided tours, private charters to Delos, and more.
With dozens of unique beaches, like the cliff-enclosed Tsigrado cove …
… an astounding array of natural scenery and rugged terrain, such as the Mars-like landscape at Cape Vani …
… picturesque seaside fishing villages, like Mandrakia …
… spectacular coastal scenery, like the breathtaking cliffs and offshore rock formations at Kleftiko …
… colourful mining sites, like the Ageria open pit operation …
… and superb Greek cuisine served at restaurants like O Xamos!, it’s easy to understand why travel blogger Dace was drawn to Milos two years in a row. (All of the photos in this post are by Dace and originally appeared on her website, Dace Travels. They are reposted here with her kind permission).
Well worth repeating: My regular readers know how much I enjoy Milos — I’ve published numerous posts about the island in the last several years, along with dozens of photographs we shot during two separate visits. I’m always keen to hear and read what other travellers think of it, in particular to see if they had similarly delightful experiences (the feedback has been overwhelmingly laudatory, I’m happy to report). I also like to hear people’s impressions of places they managed to see in parts of Milos we haven’t yet explored ourselves since it gives us ideas about new places to check out next time we go back.
So when I discovered a Milos trip report link in a post on the TripAdvisor Milos forum, I was excited to read what the writer had to say, and to view her holiday photos. Clicking on the link actually was a double treat because it took me to not one but two separate trip reports for Milos, posted by Latvian writer Dace on her personal blog, Dace Travels.
I was very pleased to find that both reports were packed with gorgeous photos and enticing descriptions of numerous Milos destinations that we haven’t yet seen (in large part because we haven’t rented a vehicle on either of our trips to the island, so we’ve been limited to what we could access by bus, taxi or walking, and couldn’t reach many of the remote areas that Dace drove to in her 4×4.)
In her first post, Greece: The beauty of Milos, Dace explains that she chose Milos after reading about it on a “hidden gem” list for Greece.
“What a great choice it was!,” she wrote. “The island has 70 different beaches, it’s not overcrowded by tourists; the western part is more wild while the eastern part is more developed. We spent 6 days there but it was not enough.” But in those six days, she saw a variety of places I’ve only read about in online travel guides — Thiafes beach, Tria Pighadia, Kolymbissionas, Amoudaraki and Manddrakia.
Spellbinding nature, beaches and good food
In her second report, Greece again. Yes to Milos!, Dace reveals why she returned to Milos for another holiday. “So why Milos again? It really got its spell on us, so much of beautiful nature and beaches and good food :),” she wrote. (I totally understand; the exact same features drew us back to Milos for our own second visit.)
Once more, Dace posted lots of beautiful photos and descriptions of even more amazing places I haven’t seen, leaving me feeling a strong tinge of envy. Those spots included Cape Vani, Voudia Bay, Pollonia, and a slew of splendid beaches — Angathia, Agios Ioannis, Triades, Firiplaka, Paleochori, Plateina, Agio Kyriaki and Tsigrado.
Both reports are fascinating and fun to read. Dace has a great sense of humour, so I chuckled at some of her stories (like the “quad people” they encountered at some beaches) and cringed at another (her account of a stomach-churning ferry ride to Milos). And of course there’s dozens of photos of stunning Milos scenery that are bound to make you dream about going there yourself.
Click here to read Dace’s first report, and then click here to read about her return visit. (The second report includes photos and information about her stay in Athens, too, and elsewhere on her blog you can read about her trip to Santorini.)
Korthi Bay and the village of Ormos Korthiou are seen in a photo from the Andros travel and information website Island Andros.
Quick peek: Have you ever experienced that nagging feeling, while travelling from one scheduled holiday destination to the next, that you’re missing out on some really worthwhile sights and attractions you simply don’t have time to stop and visit along the way? We certainly did during our trip to Andros last spring.
After spending 3 nights in Andros Town at the beginning of our vacation, it was time to move on. Our friends had to return to Athens, and they agreed to drop us off at our next stop — a hotel near the resort area of Batsi, on the northwest coast of Andros — while they drove to Gavrio port to catch their ferry back to the mainland.
So that we could all see a little more of Andros during the drive, we avoided the most direct highway route from Andros Town to Batsi and detoured to the south, following a highway that winds through the island’s Korthi region. The plan was to stop at the fishing harbour and seaside village of Ormos Korthiou to have a coffee before resuming the drive to Batsi.
Click here or on the link under the next photo to turn to page 2 of this post, where you can continue reading about Korthi and view more pictures of some of its top attractions.
One of the iconic sights we didn’t get to see in Korthi was Tis Grias to Pidima beach (also called Old Lady’s Leap), shown in this photo from airbnb.gr. Pictures of the sandy beach and its towering stone pillar can be found on scores of postcards, websites and travel publications for Andros.
A panoramic view of Fira, the capital and main town on Santorini
Octopus at Amoudi Bay on Santorini
Do you wonder what it’s like visiting Greek islands for the first time? Especially as a solo female traveller?
Two fascinating trip reports by a travel blogger from Vancouver, Canada will give you excellent insight into the entire experience. (They’re also great fun to read even if you have already been to Greece yourself.)
Blogger Christine visited Santorini and Mykonos earlier this month during a two-week holiday — her first-ever trip to Greece. She posted a thorough account of her journey, complete with dozens of photos, on her Christine in Vancouver blog.
I love the reports not just because they show Greece through the eyes of an island-hopping “newbie,” but also since they include scores of food pictures and valuable information about costs and prices — important details that I think will be extremely helpful to others considering a trip to Greece.
Click here to read Christine’s report for her May 6 to 13 stay on Santorini, and click here to read about her May 13 to 19 visit to Mykonos.
The two photos from Santorini posted above, as well as the two photos from Mykonos shown below, are just four of the dozens of fabulous pictures you’ll get to see in Christine’s reports (you’ll be able to view her photos full-size in a slide-show format.)
Enjoy your trip to Santorini and Mykonos with Christine!
Streets in the heart of Mykonos Town
Ornos, one of the top “family” beach resort areas on Mykonos
I shot this photo of passengers an upper deck of the Louis Cristal as the ship (below) approached Mykonos for a port stop a couple years ago
New ports & themes: Louis Cruises has added seven new Greek islands to the roster of destinations travellers will be able to visit on tour itineraries being offered this year by the Cyprus-based cruise operator.
Louis Cruises has long offered popular 3- to 8-day tour packages that take travellers to Istanbul and Kusadasi in Turkey as well as to the Greek islands Mykonos, Santorini, Patmos, Rhodes and Crete.
For 2014, the company has expanded its roster of destinations to include two more ports in Turkey — Bodrum and Cesme — along with seven new Greek island stops: Syros, Ios and Milos in the Cyclades island group, Kos and Symi in the Dodecanese, and Samos and Chios in the East Aegean.
New themed cruises available
Besides the new ports of call, Louis will be offering 60 specially-themed cruises with itineraries based on: gastronomy, wine & spirits; culture & heritage; history & archaeology; and music.
Representatives of the cruise line told a recent press conference in Athens that bookings for its cruises are up significantly so far this year — over 20% higher than in 2013. The company is expecting to carry 820,000 passengers during 2014 on its ships the Cristal, Olympia and Aura.
Full details about itinerary themes and destinations, as well as the ships, are available on the Louis Cruises website.
Passengers enjoy the cruises & island itineraries
Although we haven’t yet taken a Louis cruise ourselves, we have spoken to dozens of people who have. Almost all of our flights to and from Greece have been on Air Transat, whose sister company, Transat Holidays, offers Louis cruises in many of its organized island hopping vacation packages. Dozens of the passengers on each of our flights have taken the cruises, and their feedback about the experience has been overwhelmingly positive, with everyone reporting that they fully enjoyed the ships and the islands they visited.
And while we were in Athens last October, we spoke with two friends who had just taken a Louis Cruise that included stops at Kusadasi, Patmos, Crete and Santorini. Both are very well-travelled in Greece, and raved about how much they enjoyed their cruise. They told us their rooms were comfortable, the crew were friendly and helpful, and the food was delicious. They highly recommended the cruise and, in fact, urged us to take one on a future trip to Greece. It’s a suggestion we will seriously consider in light of their comments.
This photo of a waterfront scene on Symi is from The Symi Visitor website, an online guide that’s packed with pictures and travel information about the island
This summer’s extended hours and Monday openings mean tourists will enjoy the best opportunity ever to visit the historic ruins on Delos island near Mykonos
[Editor’s Note: See my Visiting Delos in 2016 post for current information about ferry ticket prices and entrance fees for the Delos archaeological site.]
Delos every day: Tourists travelling to Mykonos this summer are in for a big treat — they’ll be able to visit the ancient city and archaeological museum on nearby Delos island seven days a week, and even during the early evening for a change.
It’s easily reached on a short ferry ride from Mykonos, but restrictive opening hours have long made it difficult for many people to see Delos — especially thousands of cruise ship passengers who visit Mykonos for only part of a day during a short call into port. Indeed, the island is totally off-limits to the public at night, and for years has also been completely closed to tourists on Mondays (as has been the case with most museums and archaeological sites elsewhere in Greece).
But “never on Monday” isn’t the case for Delos this summer, thanks to operating hour changes that the Greek government announced several weeks ago for the 2014 tourist season.
As I reported in my March 4 post, Delos is one of 33 major Greek museum and archaeological sites that will be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, from April 1 until the end of October.
For years, the Delos ferries have departed Mykonos Town at 9, 10 and 11 a.m., making return trips at 12:15, 1.30 and 3 p.m. (In low season and winter, when there is substantially less demand, there is only one return ferry on Fridays and Sundays). When I learned that the government would be extending the visiting hours for Delos, and opening it to the public on Mondays, I contacted Delos Tours to find out what, if any, schedule changes might be forthcoming for excursions to the historic island. (Delos Tours is the joint venture company that operates the boats which are used to ferry passengers from the Mykonos Town harbour to Delos and back.)
New return trip in late afternoon/early evening
Delos Tours owner Maria Chatziioannou told me that plans were in the works to add an extra afternoon ferry departure; however, she was still waiting for the Greek shipping ministry to officially approve additional ferry trips and couldn’t confirm any schedule details for me at that time.
Just this afternoon, however, Maria was able to send me Delos Tours’ new summer ferry schedule.
From Tuesday through Sunday, ferries will depart Mykonos as usual at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and return as usual at 12:15, 1:30, and 3 p.m. The big change is that a late afternoon/early evening return trip has been added to the roster — a ferry will depart Mykonos at 5 p.m. and return from Delos at 8 p.m. That’s excellent news for people whose cruise ships or ferries don’t arrive at Mykonos in time for them to catch the morning departures (and good news, as well, for anyone already on Mykonos who might happen to sleep in after a late night enjoying the island’s infamous restaurant, nightclub and party scene).
However, on Mondays there will be only two ferry trips, with boats departing from Mykonos Town at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and returning from Delos at 1.30 and 8 p.m.
Small increase in ferry ticket prices on May 1
As of May 1, prices for return ferry tickets will increase slightly from the current fares, which have not changed in several years. An adult ticket will cost €18 (up from €17), while the price for children aged 6 to 12 will be €9 (a nominal increase from €8.50 at present). Kids under 6 can travel for free.
Guided tours also are available at a cost of €40 for adults and €20 for kids aged 6 to 12 (no charge for younger children). Guided tours are offered every day, but only on the 10 a.m. ferry departure. Full pricing and schedule information — as well as online advance ticket booking — is available on the Delos Tours website: www.delostours.gr.
For more information about Delos, click on the links below to see some of my previous posts:
Feeling down from polar vortexes, snow, sleet, rain and dreary winter skies? Give yourself a lift by imagining yourself on a scenic and relaxing sunset cruise in Greece — like this one we photographed at Santorini.
The enormous marble entrance for the never-completed Temple of Apollo greets visitors arriving by sea at Naxos island in the Cyclades. Also known as the Portara, the monument is an internationally-recognized symbol of Naxos island.
Something for everyone: If you’re trying to find a Greek holiday destination that ticks practically every box on even the pickiest traveller’s checklist of “must have’s” and “must see’s,” take a closer look at Naxos.
The largest island in the Cyclades, Naxos is equally big on the number of activities and attractions it offers visitors of all ages and lifestyles. From beautiful beaches to mountain villages; a vibrant port town with an historic castle and Old Market district; monuments, ruins and museums; excellent dining and nightlife; accommodations to suit any budget; walking trails, water sports and mountain biking; stunning scenery and sunsets; plus sightseeing excursions and tours both on and off the island, Naxos has it all.
Whether you’re planning to visit for three days or three weeks, you’ll never run out of things to do — if anything, you’ll probably wind up wishing you had more time to spend on the island.
What’s more, Naxos is surprisingly easy on the pocketbook, with reasonable prices for food, accommodations and entertainment.
All those are precisely the reasons why we named Naxos as our Greek Holiday Destination of the Year for 2013 (see our December 31 2013 post for more about that).
Click on the link to page 2 of this post (under the photo below) to continue reading and to see dozens of photos illustrating our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos. (Note: The reasons are listed randomly; there is no special significance to the numerical order in which each item is presented.)
A souvenir beach towel featuring a map of Naxos hangs outside a minimarket in the island’s popular Agios Prokopios resort area
Tourists walk a hillside path on Delos island (foreground) while other visitors climb steps to the top of Mt Kynthos (upper left). The monument near the center of the photo is the Temple of Isis. Click on the photo to view a full-size picture.